Unions, politicians rally at Crab Orchard Lake as budget battle - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Unions, politicians rally at Crab Orchard Lake as budget battle continues


“Threatened” is the word be used by union leaders in Illinois as the budget battle continues in Springfield.

Labor unions worked to rally support in southern Illinois on Sunday. 

The rally, held at Havens on Crab Orchard Lake, brought dozens of area politicians and hundreds of Union members and supporters.

“We’ve got every union around here, with representation. A lot of their members,” said Williamson County State's Attorney Brandon Zanotti, who discussed his aspirations for another term at the event. “It’s not about always, management vs labor. We can all work together on this, and can all move forward together.”

Political experts say Governor Bruce Rauner is focusing on business growth as a remedy for the state’s deficit, partially through things like the elimination of fair share dues, and the creation of right to work zones; two proposed changes which don’t sit well with most unions.

“Look into this, look into what right to work really is and make the decision for yourself,” Zanotti said.

Union leaders say those changes come at workers expense, citing neighboring states like Wisconsin and Indiana which have already become ‘right-to-work’ states.

As long as the budget battle goes on, union leaders say all workers in Illinois are footing the bill.

“When you start shutting down agencies that help the poor, help the needy, and then lay off those people that run  those organizations or make them efficient,” explained IBEW Local 702 member Steve Highart on Sunday. “It’s a personal attack on all working men and women in Illinois.”

Some political experts believe the current budget crisis won’t be resolved until well into the new year. Lawmakers will start again on a solution in January when the regular session resumes.

Sunday marked 133 days since the original deadline for a state budget passed.

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